If you could place a custom order for that one special man, would you choose a rancher or a prince? At first blush, the decision probably seems fairly easy. Those two men are very different in almost every way, right?
And yet, if you’re like me, your choice couldn’t ever be made that way. If you’re like me, Mr. Right’s occupation isn’t important. Falling in love is all about character and chemistry. If you’re lucky enough to find a man who can make you feel rock-solid secure and champagne-bubble giddy, both at the same time, you’re probably not going to quibble about labels.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve had two new releases—both with heroes I adored. Grant Campbell, the horse-breeder hero of THE RANCHER’S DREAM, which is a May release from Harlequin SuperRomance, is steady, nurturing and deeply connected to his Colorado land. He’s a bit of a loner, a wounded heart who isn’t sure he’s ready to risk it all again. Ronan Vicenza, the hero of HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS, which just came out from Tule Publishing, is witty, cosmopolitan and privileged. He’s the free-spirited second son of the royal family, a heartthrob who charms the common sense out of every woman he dates.
So how could I fall so completely in love with both heroes? Well, as dissimilar as they seem on the surface, these men also have much in common. They’re both profoundly loyal, especially to family. They’re smart, honest (even when it hurts), and unfailingly kind. They’re strong, physically and emotionally, and will always protect their own. They’re both willing to completely remake their worlds for the women they love.
Here’s a sneak peak at them. I hope you agree that, royalty or commoner, they’re men who know how to treat a woman right.
GRANT CAMPBELL, FROM THE RANCHER’S DREAM:
“When you told Stefan you weren’t sure you wanted to sell, I thought maybe you were…you were just…”
She twisted her mouth sideways, clearly trying to think how to say it.
He smiled down at her. “Just being a jealous ass?”
She gave him a quizzical glance. “No. I was going to say I assumed you were just playing hardball.” She looked down at her fingers and toyed absently with the metal brace. “Besides, why would you be jealous? You know there’s nothing between…”
“Between you and me. Yeah, I know.” The words sounded harsher than he’d meant them to.
Crimson glanced up at him, her smile crooked again. “You know, Grant, you really should stop finishing my sentences, especially since you don’t have a clue what I’m planning to say. I was going to point out that there’s nothing between Stefan and me.”
He took a deep breath, and then let it out in a chuckle. He loved the sassy way she called baloney on people. It was one of the qualities that had always made her such a good friend. When she was ticked, she didn’t smolder and pout and give off smoke signals that were impossible to decipher.
She just informed you of your jerk status and expected you to shape up.
RONAN VICENZA, FROM HIS DEFIANT PRINCESS:
“Look, Brenna…I don’t blame you for wanting nothing to do with me. I was a bastard. I know that, and I don’t have any excuses to offer. I lied to you. I took advantage of you. And then, when I had to leave, I didn’t even have the courage to explain. I didn’t have the guts to say goodbye.”
She kept her eyes focused just beyond his right ear, staring at one of the Vicenzas on the wall. What did he want her to say? Yes. You were a bastard, and you broke my heart, and I don’t know how to forget. Or forgive.
“I’m not asking you to forgive me,” he said, as if he had read her mind.
“Good.” She’d been reaching for cool sarcasm, but the word came out broken and wounded. She caught her breath and tightened her jaw. She wanted to pull away, but she felt paralyzed by the heat of his hands, even though they rested so lightly on her shoulders.
He bent his head, so that their gazes were level, and for a minute it was as if he could see right through into her…into her brain, her heart, her soul, wherever her secrets were hidden.
“I’m not asking for forgiveness. But I am asking you to put your anger aside for now. This is bigger than that summer. Bigger than us. Emory needs your help, Brenna. Cornetta needs help. You can go right back to hating me afterward, if you want, but please…don’t punish them for my mistakes.”
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